It can happen to an actor.
You’re sitting, waiting for the next self-tape request to drop into your inbox. Things are finally headed in the right direction with your acting career.
And then it arrives. Your agent is dumping you. It’s over. It came out of nowhere. The air leaves you in a gasp. What will you tell your Mum?
The urge to reply, to ask them why to hold them tightly as your tears flow is strong. To beg them to take you back. To give it another chance. This time, it’ll be different.
But don’t. Be better than that. Have strength. Have courage. Have pride.
Give yourself 24 hours to grieve the end of that relationship. Moan, eat junk food, do whatever you do. And then start to make a plan. Success will be
And then send a professional email acknowledging their decision and ending things politely and on good terms.
Don’t turn up at the office, grab them by the calf muscle and refuse to get off, so they have to drag you down corridors, still desperately clinging to them.
Things change. Things end. And it’s essential that the one thing you don’t do is take it as a sign that you should give up or give in. It means nothing of the sort.
It’s time to get out there and start building relationships.
The first step is simple. Think about specifically what you are looking for. I call it The Agent Avatar. Who is the agent you want? Like specifically what qualities do they have? Are they superagents or a boutique? What are the qualities of the agent in question? Can you follow them on social - in order to find out more about them? Do they seem like a good match?
Make a list of ten.
Now, have a tiny wee reflection. Headshots, spotlight, showreel, website. Are they all in order? If you want to make a good impression, make sure they are at least up to date.
When you are happy this is the case and the list of 10 is right for you. It’s time to make contact.
Check out their website. How do they like to be approached? Email? Letter? Social?
You know how if you talk about your ex- to your new prospective boyf/girl they would run a fucking mile? Same here. Don’t bitch about the old agent.
Stick to the point. Respect that they are a busy professional. Who you are, why you are contacting them, what you can do (with some modesty but no fake modesty) and what would you like from them.
The one thing I would avoid is asking for representation. It’s too easy to deny. They don’t have time for that meeting. They’re already repping too many people like you. You can save that for the meeting.
In the meeting, that’s where your people skills, your networking skills will come into effect. That’s where you will get the agent. In the meeting. Not in the message. You won’t even need to ask at the meeting. Don’t even bring it up. You don’t need to. That meeting is to make a connection.
It might take a while. But it’s okay. It’s good to be your own person for a while. Look for projects of your own. Write. Collaborate.
It won’t be long before they see the active, creative, talented opportunity that you represent.
Mark Westbrook teaches the Business of Acting course at Acting Coach Scotland’s one-year full-time diploma in Stage and Screen Acting.